Baby Food: Meat! - The Gingered Whisk

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby Food: Meat!

Hooray! If your baby is now between 8 and 10 months of age, your pediatrician has probably told you that you can begin giving her (or him, if the case may be) meats and other proteins!

This section was the most challenging to me. I was just plain turned off by pureeing meats, which completely reminded me of canned cat food. Baby Girl had a tough time with it, too. She was entriely NOT interested in meats at all. In fact, we had a really tough time getting her to eat meats at all! We even tried buying some pre-packaged baby food with meat in it, to see if she would eat any of it! (She wouldn't.) But after reading through all the ingredients on the jars and pouches, I redoubled my efforts to make her food myself (seriously, the amount of chemicals in baby food!) Eventually we found it best if she could self-feed herself tiny pieces. I think she probably heard me say it reminds me of canned cat food, and that probably turned her off of it, too! Hehe.

Beef: Select the leanest cuts of beef possible for your baby. Excellent cuts include Eye of Round roast, Top Sirloin, and Lean Fresh Ground beef. The best way to cook beef and maintain the most nutrients for your baby is to bake, roast, crock pot or stew.

Braised Beef with Carrot, Parsnip, and Sweet Potato: Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Sautee 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1 crushed garlic clove for 3-4 minutes. Toss 5 ounces of learn beef (cut into chunks) in 2 tbsp of flour and sautee until brown all over. Add 2 medium carrots (peeled and sliced), 1 small parsnip (peeled and sliced) and 1 medium sweet potatoe (peeled and chopped), along with 1 bay leaf and 1 tbsp chopped parsley to the pan. Pour in 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Blend, adding as much of the cooking liquid as necessary to reach your desired consistency.

Beef and Barley: Cut 2 ounces lean beef into pieces. Sautee beef with a bit of olive oil until cooked through. Puree together with 3 tbsp cooked pearl barley and 2 tbsp carrot purree.

Chicken and Turkey:  Both light and dark meat are a good source of nutrition for baby. Trum as much fat away from the meat as possible before cooking.

Chicken with Leek, Carrot, and Peas: Sautee 1/3 c washed and chopped leek (the white part) for about 2 minutes in olive oil. Add about 6 ounces chicken (equivalent to a large thigh) and sautee for two minutes. Add the 2 medium peeled and chopped carrots and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1/4 cup frozen peas and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and take the flesh off the bone (if there is one). Blend together with the veggies and as much of the cooking liquid as necessary to make a puree.

Chicken with Sweet Potato and Apple: sautee 1/3 cup chopped onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken breast (chopped) and sautee until it turns opaque. Add a chopped, peeled apple and sweet potato, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree to desired consistency.

Minced pork chops and applesauce: You can cook these seperately by sauteeing a pork chop, pureeing and mixing with already pureed apples, or you can cook together in one pan!

Eggs: Eggs are one of the most allergenic of foods! Please consult your pediatrician before offering them to babies! Most pediatricians agree that the non-allergenic baby can eat egg YOLKS around 8  months. However, egg WHITES should not be fed to a baby until they are over a year old! If your family has a history of egg allergies, it would probably be best to wait until after 12 months of age. Again, please speak to your pediatrician about this! Egg yolks can be served scrambled, fried, poached or boiled.

Egg yolk scramble: Crack and egg and seperate the white from the yolk. Warm olive oil or butter in a frying pan. Scramble the egg yolk in a bowl with whole milk or breast milk. Pour into pan and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through and dry.

Baby Omelet: Cook as though you are making the egg yolk scramble, but put a few tablespoons of pureed or pre-cooked and cubed soft veggies as you scramble the yolks.

Fish: Please discuss introducing fish with your pediatrician before starting! Most pediatricians suggest waiting until after 3 years of age for starting a baby on shellfish and crustaceans, but actual fish can be started around 9 months of age. Buy the freshest fish possible, with firm and shiny flesh, with a mild fresh smell. If it smelss like a fish, is slimey, or the fish doesn't spring back when touched, its old! Fish may be poached, broiled, or baked. And please, please, please make sure your fish has been thorougly thoroughly de-boned!!!!

Poached Salmon wtih Carrots: Put 20 ounces of water into a 4 quart pot and boil. Wash, peel, and chop 1 pound of carrots, and boil for 6-8 minutes. When the carrots are tender but not mushy, discard the water and place the cooked carrots in the blender.  Place 1 tbsp olive oil in the same pan, and sautee 1/2 cup diced  yellow onion, 1/2 cup chopped celery, and 1 smashed garlic clove for approximately 5 minutes. Now add 1/2 cup diced zucchini, and 6 ounces salmon (cut into small pieces) along with 4 ounces of water. Bring to a simmer and cook over med-low heat for 6 minutes, covered. Pour the entire contents of the pot onto the carrots in the blender and puree until smooth.

Beans and Legumes: A high protein food, legumes and other beans are best introduced into babies diet now that they are old enough to digest them without causing excessive gassiness (which every parent knows is a dreaded thing!) I highly highly recommend using dried beans for this and not canned.  It takes more time, I know, but canned beans often have a lot of preservatives and other ingredients in them that babies do not need! To soak your beans overnight, Thoroughly wash and pick through all the beans, making sure you only have the best of the best. Place beans in a bowl and pour enough warm water over hte beans so they are covered. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid (if your bowl has one) and come back in 6-8 hours, when your beans will be ready to cook! To cook dried beans, use 3 cups of water per 1 cup of soaked beans. If the beans have not been soaked, use 4-5 cups of water. Bring beans and water to a boil in a pot, cover and simmer until the beans are tender. Be sure to check on the water level and never let the water level get below the beans. The beans are done when they are easily squished between your thumb an finger, using very light pressure.

Lovely Lentils: Sautee 1/2 cup finely chopped onion, 2 medium (peeled and chopped) carrots, 2 tbsp celery, and 1 tbsp olive oil for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add 1/4 cup split red lentils and 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and chopped). Add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and allow to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Puree to desired consistency.

Tofu: A high protein food, I've decided to add tofu here, as an option for vegetarians. Please remember that tofu is soy based, and should not be fed to babies who have shown allergies to soy!

Cubed tofu dusted with wheat germ, crushed cheerios, or crushed graham crackers.
Blend it with a fruit like bananas, apples, blueberries or pears.
Blend with cottage cheese, avocado, or even hummus.

Wild Game: What about duck or venison? Well, that depends on if you are thinking of offering your baby "farm raised" or "field raised (from the woods)" game. Farm raised duck and other game will most likely be ok for your meat eating baby. Wild game that was caught in the forrest or fished from a stream is different.  Wild game may contain brucellosis, tularemia, or trichinosis.  One should also be mindful of the possibility of harmful chemicals that may be found in wild game. Many new studies suggest that birds and fish in particular are having more highly elevated levels of PCB and also Mercury contamination. Check your local Fish & Game department for any health bulletins and warnings that may be issued in your area. Most pediatricians suggest waiting until between 18 and 24 months before offering wild game, however you should definitely check with your pediatrician before offering any wild game to your baby!

All information for this post came from, and from "The Healthy Baby Meal Planner" by Annabel Karmel, and "The Everything Organic Cooking for Baby and Todder" by Kim Lutz.

1 comment:

  1. You are awesome to do this. My baby is 4 months, so we still haven't started on food yet, but trust me - in another couple of months, I will be using your posts as my reference!!!!


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